Sunday, June 21, 2009
SKHYE'S HANDY DANDY REFERENCE BOOK LIST FOR THE PARANORMAL WRITER
This week's guest is romance author Skhye Moncrief. When I asked Skhye to be my guest I made the mistake of asking her to include her favorite reference book . It turned out to be like asking which chocolate in the box is her favorite. Oh well, she obviously likes reference books as much as I do and has provided links to her reviews. Welcome Skhye.
Okay, let's talk about writing. There's the actual act of writing, learning the craft of writing, blogging, networking with industry folks, schmoozing with readers, maintaining your website, marketing with an endless cycle of promoting your work, and don't forget your real life that is anything but self-cleaning and self-sufficient. Well, now you know why I write fiction--a pretty little world that I can control because that mountain of dirty dishes and laundry never disappears no matter how much I mine for control of chaos!
So, somewhere along the way I have to do research. Yes, even the gal who studied the eclectic hard science and soft science, geology and anthropology, has to reconstruct extinct cultures or build new planets teaming with political, economic, and ideological strife through research.
Remember, I said writing was all about control. ;) Ms. Polo asked me to give you a wee list of references that every paranormal reader might want to keep on hand. Some references may not apply to you based on the type of paranormal fiction you write. So, be patient with me. ;) I'm kind of OCD...
SKHYE'S HANDY DANDY REFERENCE BOOK LIST FOR THE PARANORMAL WRITER
Here are a few medieval references that helped build my understanding of the way people thought in what became Europe. Of course, I took Medieval Literature and Renaissance & Reformation English Lit solely for research purposes. I wouldn't recommend that route with anyone who isn't ready for the challenge! But I want to stress that fantasies introducing new worlds tend to have worlds built upon medieval lifeways.
And you can't go wrong with a sweet bible of legend or myth, eh? Here are a few additional medieval reference books...
If you're working on a time travel set in a Christian world, invest in at least one used copy of anything dealing with Christian mythology. Yes, I said mythology.
MEDICINE AND SOCIETY IN LATER MEDIEVAL ENGLAND (a great place to get a feel for the view of early medicine)
You'll also need something defining and labelling castle anatomy. Medievals have castles and readers connect with the terminology like THE ANATOMY OF A CASTLE.
Don't forget to learn the terminology for warfare. One excellent source is THE DICTIONARY OF ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL WARFARE.
THE HISTORY OF HELL comes in just as handy when dealing with a Christian culture. It's a wonderful challenge to pit a paranormal character against a Christian in historicals. ;)
Lastly, You can really see the way Christianity evolved and controlled people by reading ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HERESIES AND HERETICS's entries, . Just jump from one entry to where they refer you to a similar topic.
How does a writer characterize with astrology, something amazingly foreign to most of us in our scientific world? Well, astrology is built on thousands of years of symbolism passed down to the present. We've just distanced ourselves from it through ideological guidance and what most people don't refer to as ideology, science. The best thing you can do is to truly attempt to understand the pros and cons of each sign if you choose to work astrology into your wip. Try a few of these:
HOW TO SPOT A BASTARD BY HIS STAR SIGN (EXTREMELY entertaining, and look for the book about the female aspect) YOUR ASTROLOGY GUIDE TO COLORS (symbolism in color)
HANDBOOK OF CHINESE HOROSCOPES (this book combines eastern/western signs to really peg a person's personality) YOUR STARCHILD (signs during childhood because they change)
You will also need a book on western Sun signs. And don't discount how Western symbolism learned and dealt with through Tarot and Numerology in your quest to gain an understanding of what you're dealing with in a wip dabbling with astrology. Here are a few keepers to expand your understanding...
TAROT IN TEN MINUTES (meanings of the Major Arcana) THE MASTER NUMBERS (Oh my! This one pegged me to a T.) NUMEROLOGY. My favorite Tarot deck that helps me figure out just what is going on with Tarot is Lucy Cavendish's THE ORACLE TAROT. Ms. Cavendish wisely put one or two key words on each card to express the card's significance. You cannot go wrong trying to descry card meanings with this deck. And I love the fresh artwork.
Lots of books containing magic or spells show how astrology, Tarot, and numerology deal with the same information. The presentation just varies from basic numbers to vignettes of extravagent symbols, i.e. a picture on a Tarot card--worth a 1000 words... MAGIC FOR LOVERS.
The stuff paranormals are made of...
THE WITCH'S GUIDE TO FAERY FOLK (a resource to define the fairy you're working with)
DRAGONS: A NATURAL HISTORY (a place to start in determining the dragon you need)
MONSTERS: AN INVESTIGATOR'S GUIDE TO MAGICAL BEINGS (how to find, avoid, and deal with monsters of all types)
A FIELD GUIDE TO DEMONS, FAIRIES, FALLEN ANGELS, & OTHER SUBERSIVE SPIRITS (a guide written by two anthropologists where supernatural entities are differentiated between with habitats including the psyche!)
SLAYERS AND THEIR VAMPIRES (understanding how a person can venture into the forbidden world and not be labelled equally forbidden)
VAMPIRES, BURIAL, & DEATH (the bible to vampire studies)
ANGELS A TO Z (the dirt at your fingertips)
LIFE AFTER DEATH (the evolution of Western ideas about the afterlife)
TIME TRAVEL (what's been done and where time travel is going, plausibly)
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SUPERSTITIONS (food for thought)
SEX AND THE PARANORMAL (just in case you want your story to be a bit deeper)
DEMON LOVERS: WITCHCRAFT, SEX, AND THE CRISIS OF BELIEF
THE MYSTIC HEALERS: THE HISTORY OF MAGICAL MEDICINE
BODY GUARDS: PROTECTIVE AMULETS AND CHARMS
SIGNS, SYMBOLS, AND OMENS
To see what other reference books I've blogged about dealing with science, historical topics, the paranormal, cultural analysis, and writing, visit my blog.
Never leave a stone unturned. ;) Or a reader might hurl it at you!
Thanks to Amber for inviting me over to ramble. Most folks get all weird when I start spouting off reference titles. Yes, I realize I people have no idea what to do with the things I discuss. *chuckle* So, sharing was tons of fun.
CONTEST! I'm giving away a copy of THE SPELL OF THE KILLING MOON to one person who tells me what their favorite myth or historical reference book . Please leave a comment with the title, author's name, and why you like the reference book. Amber will draw the winner Sunday June 27th and post the name here. ~Skhye
The Spell of the Killing Moon offers the best of spine-tingling suspense. The setting is perfect... Moncrief’s ability to wield magic and emotion are without compare. Her words twist together emotions and visuals until you experience this tale as if the trap were set for you. Some lines blend a kind of poetic magic: “Moonlight wove a special kind of magic, a spell so vacillating that a person never knew if reality were anything other than a dream.” Darkness and premonitions and deadly intent fill these pages... a unique blend of mystic Medieval Gothic and romance…and a true blood-curdling thriller. 5 books" ~Snapdragon, LASR
Skhye Moncrief pushes the envelope by twisting legends to create new worlds where readers can fall in love beyond this reality. Her stories are available at The Wild Rose Press in e-format and print. www.timeguardians.com www.skhyemoncrief.com
Contest Closed. Skhye will pick a winner!